Safe And Simple Alternatives To Household Cleaning Chemicals.

July 15, 2010

Anyone who’s ever cleaned a house knows how much dirt and grime can be found, even in unexpected places. It can be tempting to buy the fiercest-looking cleaner from the nearest store, but it’s much healthier to use a combination of harmless products that are consistently kept in most homes. The following substitutes for cleaners are quick, easy, and benign ways to achieve sparkling results.

To polish furniture: use a small amount of mayonnaise on a soft cloth, then rub it into furniture for a superior shine. Another option is to moisten a dusting cloth with cool tea, then polish as usual.

To clean the oven: create a thick paste using baking soda and a small amount of hot water. Apply it to any problem spots, then wipe clean. For tough stains, leave the paste on overnight, then remove to reveal a clean oven.

To clean windows: mix ¼ cup of plain vinegar with 2 cups of water and ½ teaspoon of liquid soap. Make sure it’s well blended in a spray bottle, then use just like regular window cleaner.

To kill dust mites: brew black tea, let it cool, then put it into a spray bottle. Test a small section of the carpet to make sure it won’t be stained, then cover the area.

To freshen the garbage disposal: grind ice cubes and citrus peels. Baking soda left overnight will also work.

To freshen the air: don’t risk carcinogens and allergens just for air that smells good. Simmer a clean, harmless air freshener on the stove instead by leaving any of the following mixtures on low heat.

  • 1. Cut 2 lemons into quarters, then cover them with cold water.
  • 2. Drop 6 sprigs of fresh mint into 4 cups of water.
  • 3. Combine 5 cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, and 4 cups of cider.

Stuck on an irreplaceable chemical? Try MIT’s “Green” Alternatives Wizard. It can be used to find alternatives for specific chemicals or processes and can also provide more information on alternative chemicals or methods. The Wizard is a fast, easy way to eradicate even the most convenient chemicals from regular use.

Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie.

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Comments (6)

  1. Emily says:

    Ooo… that chemical-alternative wizard is so cool. Thanks!

  2. jennifer says:

    these aren’t just simple and easy alternatives – they’re HUGE money savers! especially if you already buy green labelled cleaners, you’d know quite well that they cost a pretty penny.

    thanks for the tips! you can even take your “freshen the air” recipe and drink it as tea! :)

  3. Benjamin K says:

    Vinegar. Vinegar. Vinegar. It pretty much cleans everything. Kills mold, bacteria, germs … and it smells good! I add a little lemon juice (for scent) and olive oil (for polish) to make a wood-cleaner.

    We even use it as an all-purpose floor cleaner in a spray bottle, then we wrap towels around a plastic (was supposed to be disposable) mop head frame and wash them after use. That way we save money on cleaner (vinegar’s cheap!!) and disposable mop heads. Cleans kitchen tile as well as wood floors.

  4. Christine says:

    Agree!

    Some vinegar poured into a bowl will also take odours out of the air–like magic!

    (Warning: some sponge-like floor mops tend to disintegrate if vinegar is frequently added to wash water.)

  5. Suzie says:

    You can’t beat vinegar and/or baking soda for cleaning. They are the best@!!!!